It’s a good feeling when someone says that they like you. You went on a few dates with them, exchanged a bit of têtê-a-têtê, and perhaps even had your first kiss. And that’s when you realize you aren’t that into them. How, how to tell someone you’re not interested without breaking their heart? It’s going to be a messy situation but we are here to offer all the polite ways to tell someone you’re not interested after a date or after seeing them for a while. 

Research attests that many specific emotions arise from the prospect or presence of rejection in love, including hurt feelings, loneliness, jealousy, guilt, shame, social anxiety, embarrassment, sadness, and anger. Do you want your admirer to go through all this? When you learn to say “no” nicely, they won’t be heartbroken after your confession. 

21 Polite Ways To Tell Someone You Are Not Interested 

Saying no can be tough but not saying anything and leading them on is a big sin you are about to commit. You care about this person’s feelings and don’t want to hurt them. We get it. But the outcome lies in the art of rejection. Your admirer needs to be let down carefully, keeping respectful communication at the center of it all. 

1. Do it in person

Don’t ever try to tell someone you’re not interested over text. Be brave enough to face them and look them in the eye when revealing your feelings. It’s more respectful this way as it shows that you are not mocking this person’s feelings. Plus, it gives a better closure and you can have a genuine conversation with them.

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2. Choose the right time and place 

Choose a place where the ambiance does not give off any romantic vibe. Also, select an appropriate time when they are not busy. If they aren’t available at your time, then wait for it till they are free so you have enough time to talk about everything in detail.

And when you are breaking the news, don’t leave any room for misinterpretation. At the mentioned meeting, clarify right there if they have any queries. 

3. Tell them you appreciate their feelings 

They have strong feelings for you and your main objective should be to respect this person’s feelings. So, tell them you appreciate how they feel for you without sounding overly enthusiastic or overly positive. 

Tell them you don’t feel the same way and when you reject someone politely, don’t use a light-hearted tone to make them feel like you are not taking this seriously. Be serious and tell them that you don’t think the two of you will be a good romantic match. 

4. Use “I” language to make your point 

Using “I” statements is one of the most important things to do when you are trying to politely reject someone. It shows that you aren’t placing the blame on them but on yourself. “You” statements will make it look like you are punishing them for falling in love with you.

Choose your words wisely. Here are some example statements you can use when you are not trying to cause any hurt feelings inside them:

  • I am so happy that you showed interest in me but I have other important priorities to focus on at the moment 
  • I love spending time with you but I’ll have to respectfully decline your proposal. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean I don’t cherish you or our memories 
  • I’ve enjoyed getting to know you I don’t think now is the right time to proceed romantically 
  • I think it’s best we remain friends as we have that friendly vibe going on 
  • I am sorry that I am letting you down when I was the one who approached you first. This breaks my heart but I have since moved on and don’t see us being in a romantic relationship 

You have to keep things on a positive note when you are rejecting them.

Psychologist and licensed professional counselor Guy Winch, says, “It’s important to choose your words carefully, the experts agree. “Phrase something as ‘This bothers me,’ or ‘This really was difficult for me,’” instead of blaming the other person.” 

Rejecting someone via text

5. Keep it brief and concise 

You don’t have to talk about vulnerabilities or insecurities when you have put them in such an uncomfortable position. You don’t have to drag the conversation or force them to keep talking to you because you are feeling bad about breaking their heart.

It doesn’t work that way. You have to keep such conversations short when you are expressing disinterest. Stay firm on your decision and avoid leading them on. 

6. Offer friendship but don’t push it

How to tell someone you’re not interested after a date? Try to extend your hand as friends. This is a softer way to say “you’re rejected”. Tell them you love hanging out with them and would love to continue your meet-ups.

Even though you can’t be in a serious relationship, you can stay friends without having to make a big deal about it. However, respect their decision if they don’t want to complicate things by staying in touch with you. Don’t feel disappointed because they are entitled to their feelings. 

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7. Be honest 

You are in quite a pickle. You met someone and had a nice time but you don’t see a future with them. Instead of sending mixed signals, you can be honest about your feelings.

Don’t beat around the bush and keep leading them on. Here are some ways you can tell a guy/girl you’re not interested via text examples:

  • Sorry, Sam. I really enjoyed our first date but I don’t think we are compatible enough to have a strong relationship down the lane 
  • We have different preferences and that’s okay. You will find someone you will fit into all the boxes that you’ve always desired. Sadly, that’s not me 
  • It was fun meeting you but I like someone else. I am sorry I should have told you sooner but I genuinely have fallen in love with them
  • I have enjoyed hanging out with you as we like the same things. But I am in a good place right now and I don’t want to mess that up by starting a new relationship. I don’t want to have a serious partner at the moment  

There is no softer way to reject someone. It all depends on how you want to handle the situation. If you are honest about your feelings, that’s good for you. It shows that you are a kind human who doesn’t take advantage of people’s emotions. 

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8. Share your real feelings 

If you feel unsafe with them or think you aren’t a good match, say it out loud. If you think your relationship is moving too fast, that’s your honest opinion and you have all the right to feel that way.

Share your real feelings to appear genuine. Anyone can make lame excuses and get out of such awkward situations. It takes a genuine person to open up and share what’s in their heart. If you get friend vibes from them, say so instead of lying about your reason. 

9. Listen to their perspective 

When you are trying to say “no” nicely, you can’t just state your feelings and walk away from the conversation. You need to buckle up and listen to the other person’s feelings too. If they are mad at you, then let them be.

Not because you deserve it but because they are in pain right now. You just rejected them and you can’t expect them to act all goody-goody. So, listen to what the other party has to say and validate their feelings. 

10. Respect their feelings 

How to tell someone you’re not interested after leading them on?

You have to respect their feelings and accept whatever decision they make.

Do they want to throw you out of their life? Accept it.

If they still want to spend time with you, you can do it if you are also okay with it. Tell them you are there whenever they want but you can’t spend every waking moment of your life with them. 

11. Keep your mutual friends away from this 

This is one of the stupidest things many people do when they don’t have the courage to break up in person.

They involve their mutual friends and ask them to do the dirty job. You can’t hurt this girl or guy’s feelings by talking about them behind their back. 

That shows how immature a person can get. Instead, do this on your own and tell them using the broken record technique, especially if they are not able to accept the rejection. Be assertive and stay firm on your decision. 

12. Don’t ever ghost them 

What do emotionally immature people do when they can’t handle difficult situations? They ghost you and vanish into thin air. That’s appalling, isn’t it? Plus, Research confirms that people who ghost have low self-esteem. Many people think ghosting is their best bet but to get rid of someone but they forget the damage it does to their mental health. 

You can have a no-contact rule once you’ve broken the news but not before that. You need to get your message across loud and clear that you are not interested anymore. Tell them you want the two of you to go separate ways and seek love elsewhere. 

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13. Maintain a neutral body language 

Rejecting someone’s romantic proposal can be a delicate situation. That’s why you need to maintain an empathetic attitude to uphold their dignity. Here are some tips for maintaining appropriate body language during this conversation: 

  • Licensed professional counselors advise everyone to maintain gentle eye contact. Don’t roll your eyes when they are speaking 
  • Keep your body language open and relaxed. Don’t get defensive when they try to contradict you 
  • Use soft and reassuring gestures like lightly touching their arm or offering a sympathetic smile but do not touch them in a sexual manner
  • Don’t invade their personal space and act all chummy

Give the other party some time to process this information and avoid rushing the conversation. Lastly, don’t try to change the subject. Have this conversation for as long as they want. 

14. Sandwich the rejection with compliments 

When you are trying to tell someone you’re not interested over text, try to sandwich the rejection between compliments.

You’ve been on several dates with them so you know all their qualities and quirks. Remind them of all the positive traits first and then move on to break the rejection news.

Follow it up by saying how nice they are and that they will find a better person than you.

Here’s an example: It was nice meeting you as you are kind and compassionate but I am not looking for anything serious right now. I am sure you will find your soulmate soon. 

15. Don’t breadcrumb them 

Breadcrumbing is like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to keep this person attracted to you, even though you have no real intention of having a real relationship with them. It’s like you reach out to them when you are bored and have no one else to talk to.

You call them when you are feeling lonely and want to have loads of fun hanging out with them. Other times, you don’t even care about their existence.

Studies have found that breadcrumbs can hurt a person’s mental health. It can cause loneliness, and anxiety, and they may feel less satisfied with their life. When you are trying to reject someone, be bold enough to either cut communications once and for all or have a steady friendship without making it look like you are breadcrumbing them. 

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16. Treat them the way you’d like to be treated 

Would you like it if someone you like ghosts you or makes fun of you for falling in love? No. Nobody would want that. Moving forward, try to protect their self-esteem the way you protect yours. Have a direct approach and tell them you respect them a lot and don’t want any misunderstandings.

The more you show respect, the better they will feel about this situation. Here’s what you can do — Listen with curiosity, speak softly, and don’t make them feel sorry for falling in love with you. 

17. Don’t turn this into gossip 

I’ve done this before and I am sure many of you have. You turn someone’s weak moment into a fun episode with friends. This is not a softer way to reject someone. In fact, it’s callous and it speaks more about you than the person you rejected. It’s best you keep things to yourself and not spread this news as gossip. 

“People do this as an expression of egoism. It’s trashy no matter who does it. People need to keep that stuff private, it doesn’t make them look as good as they think it does”, writes a Reddit user on people who turn their dating life into gossip. 

18. Don’t justify or apologize 

If you apologize, it’ll look like you regret making this decision and somewhere it gives them false hope. They are going through a painful experience but you shouldn’t be sorry about how you feel. You can’t put other people’s feelings above yours and hide your real emotions.

Hence, you must express your emotions without sounding apologetic. Also, don’t justify yourself because you are entitled to your feelings just as they are. All of this can be portrayed respectfully. 

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19. Tell them it’s not personal 

You say “It’s nothing personal” when you don’t want to offend someone. It’s not a personal dig at them or their personality. It’s all about you here. When you say this, you are trying to ensure that they don’t blame themselves for the downfall of this unique romantic connection.

You started feeling off about this and you should take responsibility for it. You aren’t on the same page as them and it’s not their fault. That’s how you give this person the bad news that you aren’t feeling the same way about them. 

20. Don’t give “it’s not you, it’s me” type of excuses 

This is one of the lamest breakup excuses you can make. Nothing good can happen with these types of statements. It’s like saying, “You are better than me and that’s why I don’t want to be in a relationship with you”.

How is that supposed to make them feel? Is it wrong to have good qualities in today’s world? It’s ridiculous to tell someone you aren’t interested in them. Some other lame excuses to steer clear of include:

  • This will never work out because our zodiac signs don’t align
  • We had so much fun last night and I am starting to like you too much. This scares me as I am not good at maintaining romantic relationships 
  • I am only into casual dating and like meeting multiple people. I don’t think that’s what you want and I am not ready for monogamy yet  

“The actual meaning behind such statements is: I am the one who led you on for months, if not years, making you invest all your time and energy in me because I was lonely. Don’t use someone’s feelings just because you’re not sure about yours”, writes a Quora user on why people use silly excuses to reject someone. 

21. Remind them of their self-worth 

Your feelings toward them shouldn’t affect how they view themselves. You are expressing disinterest because you feel like you aren’t a good match. That’s it. Nothing beyond that.

They shouldn’t feel guilty for not living up to your expectations.

Ensure that they feel they are perfect just the way they are and they don’t have to diminish their self-confidence and self-worth just because you or (someone else) don’t have romantic feelings for them. 

Key Takeaways 

  • There are times when someone falls in love with you but you don’t feel the same way about them 
  • You have to state clear boundaries so it doesn’t look like you are leading them on 
  • Some ways of politely rejecting them include using “I” language, respecting their feelings, and being honest about the real reason behind your disinterest 

When you are in a situation like this, you need to armor yourself with sensitivity, empathy, and respect. You need to look for honest ways to communicate your feelings by being polite and considerate. Don’t turn this into a “proud” moment that you can show off among your friends. Instead, handle this with grace and compassion. We hope this article helped you become a better person!